It’s time this blog saw some writing action. It’s time my legs saw some cycling action.
The standard approach is to start with the excuses.
Instead, let’s start with what I’m going to do about it.
The first action is to write this post. If you’re reading it, let’s assume I’ve at least achieved that.
The second action is to lay out my ‘race programme’ for 2020.
Finally, and this is less an action, rather a somewhat uninteresting piece of information, I will ‘reveal’ the location of this year’s training camp*.
(* family holiday where I plan to take my bike)
My 2020 Sportive Programme
Okay, this is pretty bare bones. I struggle to commit to too many events, what with other demands on my time (work, family, over-optimistic workshop-creating projects).
I have a grand total of two events planned so far. I’ll definitely have to train for the second one. That being the case, and assuming I do (train), I’ll see if I can slot in a few more events.
Event 1: The RideStaffs Spring Forward Sportive
This is my local sportive, run by Paul from RideStaffs. It’s early in the season (the clue’s in the name), on the first Sunday in April (the 5th, for calendar-markers) and not too long. Nor is the terrain too arduous. Perfect for getting the velo juices flowing.
The sportive starts in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. JCB, they of the yellow diggers, was founded in Uttoxeter. Staffordshire is famous for pottery and small aggressive-looking dogs.
This year’s Spring Forward Sportive has a novel format. There is a ride in the morning (36 miles, hilly, somewhat close to my manor) that loops back to Uttoxeter for lunch. Then there is a slightly shorter (28 miles) and gentler southbound loop in the afternoon. You can ride either the morning or afternoon loops, or both.
I haven’t quite decided, but I think I’ll probably just do the morning loop. That seems to be sufficient to merit the pint of local beer and finishers t-shirt that’s included in the very reasonable entry fee (£29.99).
If you do take part, please do come up to say hello (to me). I’ve met precisely one blog reader (who I didn’t already know) in the wild (actually I met him twice at two different events) and it was a thoroughly gratifying experience (probably more for me than him).
Also, tell Paul I sent you.
(Oh, and here is my blog post from when I took part in last year’s event. It’s not the same route, but you’ll get a flavour of the roads that Paul favours when he designs his routes.)
Event 2: The White Rose Classic
Two things are brilliant about the White Rose Classic sportive.
- it is in God’s Own Country; and
- the organiser, Scott, reached out and offered me a free place.
This year’s WRC takes place on Sunday 21st June. The start and finish is in Ilkley and the event is organised by a volunteer force from Ilkley Cycling Club (who sport a very smart black, racing green and yellow kit).
There are three routes to choose from. All look magnificent.
With the long route (at 192 hilly kilometres; 3245m ascent) feeling like it might be a
bridge hill too far, however, I’ve elected to do the medium route.
But even the medium route isn’t to be taken lightly. At 135km and 2,106m of climbing, I’ll have all on to get my fitness to a point where I enjoy the day rather than simply endure it.
I’m very much looking forward to the day. I plan to write more about my training and preparation for the event on this here blog.
To be honest (and we mustn’t tell Scott), I’d have been prepared to pay to ride.
It suits me in terms of timing (June is a relatively quiet month for us this year; there is sufficient time beforehand to train), location (the start is not too far from my sister’s house) and route (parts of the Yorkshire Dales where I’ve not ridden before).
In fairness, I did end up paying for an entry… for my brother-in-law to join me as super-domestique, team car driver and soigneur.
If you want to join me (I recommend you do), here is the link to the website.
As an aside, the rider road book (you can download the 2019 version as a pdf from their website) provides an excellent summary of everything you need to know. It’s clear that an awful lot of work goes into creating it (which sends a positive signal about the level of organisation for the sportive itself).
Almost Event 3: RideLondon 2020 Ballot Ballyhoo
My programme almost comprised three events.
Last week saw the results of the ballot for places in RideLondon 2020. Ballot places are as rare as hen’s teeth.
I was very excited then to receive a ‘Congratulations’ magazine… for a different person that is not me. The covering letter was addressed to a lady who lives up in the Peak District.
I did consider participating as said lady. But whilst what I get up to in private is my own business, I am not quite ready to do it whilst riding 100 miles around our nation’s fine capital.
A bit of quick Googling determined that there had been a postage snafu by the organisers (actually, they quickly laid the blame at the hands of a ‘3rd party contractor’).
It turns out I did have a place. I got the email a few days later. Gawd knows where that magazine has gone.
Final twizzle in the tail though. We’re on holiday at the time of the event. I cannot ride(London).
I did consider paying and then deferring my place (I mentioned the hen’s teeth). But the small print hides a big price. I’d have to pay for the 2020 event and then pay again for 2021.
RideLondon is good and all, and if this was my debut I’d consider paying it, but perhaps not £158 good. I’ll enter again when the ballot process starts again in August.
Talking Of Holiday…
Er, I mean this year’s annual training camp.
Once again the team will be heading abroad for warmer climbs. This time to Scotland. I’m unclear at this time whether there will be a hard border to cross (or the start of a new bridge to Northern Ireland).
To tell the truth, I have no idea how cycle-y the trip will be. We’re going with non-cycling friends. I’m told the roads are quiet and a delight to drive (they’re not velo-folk), so I’m hoping this translates into quality bikery. I will report back.
I don’t think we’re talking South of France weather. I’ll be packing my Castelli Perfetto (I always pack my Castelli Perfetto).
We’re going here:
… if anyone has any particular insights they want to share.
Those are my preliminary sportive plans for 2020. I’m looking forward to both events, and to the holiday. We just need this miserable February weather to pass through so we can all get back out on the roads.
Over to you. What events are you riding in 2020?
Let me know in the comments below.